Blog Post

Evaluating Alignment Options between Cardiologists and Health Systems

Evaluating Alignment Options Between Cardiologists And Health Systems Web

COVID-19 has already shaped the healthcare sector in unexpected—and in some cases, permanent—ways. Now the pandemic is bringing cardiologists and health systems closer together.

Last fall, ECG hosted a Becker’s Cardiology virtual forum that explored the impact of cardiology services migrating to ambulatory settings and the effect on physician alignment and partnerships. With the disruptions caused by the pandemic expected to continue well into 2021, hospital systems and cardiologists may have a greater appetite for some form of collaboration .

Due to the rapidly consolidating market and intense competition between hospitals to employ or partner with physician groups, hospital-physician alignment is often a high-stakes game, with many strategic and financial implications. While hospitals are feeling pressured to seek physician partners, they need to understand that a broad range of alignment options are available to them, and finding the right fit is just as important as acting quickly. Developing and employing a disciplined alignment selection process is critical for choosing the appropriate alignment model.

Understanding Goals and Priorities

A critical first step in the process of developing a more formal relationship involves each party identifying and sharing their respective priorities and goals. Every organization’s goals and priorities are unique; some are seeking simple, operational improvements (e.g., reducing physician’s administrative burden) while others are contemplating long-term strategies (e.g., access to new markets). An open conversation that clearly identifies what each party hopes to attain from the partnership will foster transparency and create trust, which is the foundation for a collaborative approach to creating a mutually beneficial alignment model.

Selecting an Alignment Model That Achieves Goals

Choosing an alignment model should be a standardized process that enables a hospital and cardiology group to weigh all important factors and ultimately achieve their mutually established goals. Often, creating a decision matrix to organize criteria and objectively evaluate options is an effective method for evaluating alignment models. Any such tool will need to account for the unique characteristics of each party and should be used more as a flexible instrument to guide decisions—not a one-size-fits-all approach. Below is a simplified example of an evaluation tool.

Pursuing Alignment

Subjecting alignment options to a robust evaluation process makes it more likely that the goals of cardiology groups and hospitals will be better aligned, leading to a more successful outcome. Collaboratively identifying the best alignment option can be the first step toward a tighter partnership.

Many alignment options could be new and unfamiliar in some markets (e.g., a comanagement arrangement), so the infrastructure and subject matter expertise needed to properly develop and execute the model may not yet be in place. In this instance, it will be critical, particularly on the part of the hospital, to seek out the appropriate resources or subject matter experts to assist in developing the arrangement.

Is your organization considering alignment opportunities?

Contact ECG’s experts to continue the conversation.

Contact Us